Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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I'd contend that she's not advocating for what I could consider social progress at all, but I can certainly agree that she's close enough to the ballpark that many will simply misconstrue her message as the more reasonable, positive, & progressive sentiment I wish it actually were. That's basically what Larry is saying, and it's hard to argue against.

Of course, that doesn't mean we can't dissect and critique it here. I still don't think someone deserves a free pass from making ridiculous claims and reductionist, stale arguments, even if there's a good peripheral cause.

Of course, you have freedom and liberty to criticize her views any way you want. I happen to think that her bringing this issue into the public debate has a net positive effect, even if her motives or methods are suspect.

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And you know what, social progress is extremely messy and sometimes we don't always like the advocates for it.

Yep. Malcolm X and Betty Friedan are good examples. They didn't ruin society for blacks and women due to their extreme personalities, they ultimately advanced it. No one speaking out right now is going to "ruin" things for gaming.

Edited by Liontamer

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it's probably a little extreme to compare Anita Sarkeesian to Malcolm X

Again, a point to Bleck.

I'll weather the oncoming storm. :lol:

Larry, weather the storm, for on it comes... in LARGEFONT, no less :)...

Cultural criticism is not equivalent to fighting for equal rights. Do not delude yourself otherwise.

When it comes to experiencing art, there are no rights, other than the right to abstain. That's almost the POINT of art itself!! If we're going to mount a coordinated response to Roger Ebert's stance that vidya games will never be art, we shouldn't start by treating them as LESS than art.

Equating ideology-infused diatribes about "offensive" content in art to the direct opposition of legal injustice & civil rights inequalities is a phenomenally bad idea. I'm surprised you'd touch it with a ten-foot pole. One group is arguing that artists are misusing their freedom; the other group is arguing for freedom itself. These are not equivalent, in the same way that an orangutan is not equivalent to an umbrella.

Anita is not Malcolm X. She's the 1960's grad student who wrote lengthy analyses of race in modern fiction that are long forgotten, while actual protesters were out getting shot, sprayed with water hoses, etc. fighting for tangible, real-world policy change that affected their lives.

There's a difference, in the same way that the nation of Russia is larger than a Cocker Spaniel.

Storm over, go clean yourself up.;-)

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I'll frame it in different terms. I don't believe cultural criticism is equivalent to fighting for equal rights. However, justified agitation and provocation for better treatment is the common thread.

Anita is not Malcolm X. She's the 1960's grad student who wrote lengthy analyses of race in modern fiction that are long forgotten, while actual protesters were out getting shot, sprayed with water hoses, etc. fighting for tangible, real-world policy change that affected their lives.

Thanks for the clarification. She's definitely not Malcolm X. :lol: I don't think she has the weight, scope, or impact of the civil rights leaders mentioned or that she's a civil rights crusader; X and Friedan are merely very famous examples of social agitators.

But when you make the implication that Sarkeesian's lengthy analyses will be forgotten in the gaming community, that's less likely to be true due to YouTube and digital distribution. Students of the '60s didn't have it, so they couldn't reach the number of people that, like it or not, she's definitely reaching.

Obviously, critiquing fiction is smaller potatoes, but in gaming she has the potential to have a meaningful, positive impact on the overall depiction of women in games, even if it's not immediate and not on her terms. That's why I don't mind if her approach or conclusions are imperfect; other smart, insightful people in games can apply what works and discard what doesn't.

Sad as it is to say -- as I believe the threats are mostly terroristic bluster (that need to be taken seriously for safety's sake) -- let's ALSO hope she doesn't get shot like Malcolm X. It's unreal, almost absurdist, that it's gone this far with the nature of the threats.

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True. Dave did find a couple of minor discrepancies in the MP3s we're corralling for the next torrent. No cred there. :-)

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True. Dave did find a couple of minor discrepancies in the MP3s we're corralling for the next torrent. No cred there. :-)

Is it weird that I thought Argle was saying you're not good-lookin'? :lmassoff:

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Argle just can't admit I'm like a bald, chocolate version of Vega. Mighty fine. :-)

P.S. "Bald Chocolate Vega." I smell OLR mix title.

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Obviously, critiquing fiction is smaller potatoes, but in gaming she has the potential to have a meaningful, positive impact on the overall depiction of women in games, even if it's not immediate and not on her terms. That's why I don't mind if her approach or conclusions are imperfect; other smart, insightful people in games can apply what works and discard what doesn't.

This is certainly how she (read: her Feminist Frequency work) is being used in academia. She is an interesting speaker/writer/presenter doing great research not because it ends a conversation, but because it begins one. My own thoughts are close to Dave's -- one or two tone adjustments and I'm on board. This is very common in academic circles, and it isn't anywhere near as big a problem as anyone thinks it is, at least as far as citing her work as a source that helps enable future research on games and gender issues.

My biggest problem thus far has not been with her at all, but the people ardently defending her work as unassailable in any context whatsoever. They are actually denying the very purpose of academic research! We are supposed to wrestle with the claims she's making, and we are supposed to respond in thoughtful ways -- see Larry's quote about about using only pieces of the work. Anyone that doesn't allow for those sorts of conversations to take place is just as detrimental to the maturation of games as an artistic medium as the people trying to prevent her work from being heard are.* This last thought was inspired by my social-media-linked reading for today, entitled "The Offense Industry on the Offense." I for one am extremely glad we have these videos to work with and I hope that we get more material from Anita before all is said and done. Not because I agree with everything she puts out there (in fact, I have more and more problems with the videos the more of them I watch), but because the videos invite serious conversations about gaming, something that we -- even/especially OverClocked ReMix we, given the mission statement about "...the promotion of video game music as an art form" -- should be happy to engage.

*Caveat: The threats against Anita are absolutely horrifying, and they compound the fact that the Internet (especially Twitter) has a nasty tendency to polarize everything into a "my side or their side" situation. As a result, the threats cause a secondary problem -- they make it even more difficult to maintain a nuanced response, since of course I support that someone is causing us to have these types of conversations!

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I have two problems with Anita's work.

The first is that she comes off as an angry dilettante. As Bardic points out, this isn't necessarily a problem overall, it just makes it painful to run through her videos.

My second problem is that she only views the material through the lens of a present day person with a puritanical background. Games are a global medium, produced by people of many cultures over a fairly wide time period. In my opinion, any real analysis needs to take into account the realities of the culture and time the game came from; not /her/ culture and /her/ time period (unless said game is from her culture and time period). I'm not sure if my opinion on this reflects the realities of the academic work on the subject, as it's removed from my specialty.

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A guy by the name of Thunderf00t whom I often watch made a video about how Anita's recent claim that she had to cancel her talk at a university in Utah because of a hardcore death threat was a total lie. Thunderf00t suggests that it was all a part of her professional victim hood routine and just did it to draw more attention to herself. What do you guys think?

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A guy by the name of Thunderf00t whom I often watch made a video about how Anita's recent claim that she had to cancel her talk at a university in Utah because of a hardcore death threat was a total lie. Thunderf00t suggests that it was all a part of her professional victim hood routine and just did it to draw more attention to herself. What do you guys think?

That's stupid and conspiratorial. He should probably shut up about it. :lol:

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Thank God, djp. Just had a bit of a dance with zircon over Twitter and the terribad GiantBomb gamergate article. I thought he vaguely implied there was broader support here for that narrative, but I see that my thoughts were mistaken. Glad to see some clarity.

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Thank God, djp. Just had a bit of a dance with zircon over Twitter and the terribad GiantBomb gamergate article. I thought he vaguely implied there was broader support here for that narrative, but I see that my thoughts were mistaken. Glad to see some clarity.

Dude, that's what the whole point of my initial tweets was. We have good, civil discussion here and that can happen elsewhere too. Dave changed my opinion (and others') about Anita's videos from an initial state of agreement, to disagreement with most of what she says. And that's totally cool. We don't need to associate with gamergate to have these conversations, and you don't either.

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I just strongly disagree with the sentiment that the hashtag has somehow jumped the shark or been corrupted or anything of that nature. It's a rallying point, a ramp to get onboard. To say that it's aggressively policed is putting it lightly these days. Contrary to your claims, media coverage is far from univerally shunning it, and they're beginning to present an alternative to the narrative that the Gawker crowd (with which GiantBomb is definitely complicit) is pushing.

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Don't know about this latest threat' date=' but the sender of the previous ones was identified by - gamergate :<

[url']http://gamergate.community/showthread.php?tid=485

Because you know, it's all about harassing women.

Why are you using that line on me? :lol: I don't believe it's 100% trolls/harassers.

I don't know how large the group is, but there's definitely a segment of GamerGate supporters who:

1) aren't harassing people;

2) aren't threatened by female game developers or more diverse depictions of women in games;

3) want a higher standard of ethics in games journalism.

But the ethical people in GamerGate who have had 0 to do with the trolling and death threats should probably ditch #GamerGate as a hashtag and move to #GamerEthics or something new so that they can continue that effort without the baggage of the trolls who use it as smokescreen to harass.

I'm sure it's out there, but I haven't really seen anyone gather a big list of issues to fix re: payola/unprofessionalism in gaming journalism (and proven examples of corruption in action). I'd love to see a good one.

TotalBiscuit's talked about broader issues like exclusive advance reviews and stuff like that, where there's much more pressure/incentive to rate a game highly. And there's of course the Jeff Gerstmann controversy from a while back. Does anyone document the number of exclusive advance reviews various outlets have, or how outlets have rated games they had ad campaigns for, and keep track of other metrics like that?

Edited by Liontamer

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I wasn't using it on you, just bringing it to attention of those who may think gamergate is 100% harassers :P

But yeah, ditching that tag and starting with something new would be a good approach.

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I don't have much to add, but I do want to say that I appreciate and agree with Larry's points that Ms. Sarkeesian's points have the potential to be a net positive. I agree she's no Malcolm X, and I think the more limited comparison drawn here is appropriate. I think this thread's given me a better way of expressing my thoughts on the Ms. Sarkeesian's work.

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Why are you using that line on me? :lol: I don't believe it's 100% trolls/harassers.

I don't know how large the group is, but there's definitely a segment of GamerGate supporters who:

1) aren't harassing people;

2) aren't threatened by female game developers or more diverse depictions of women in games;

3) want a higher standard of ethics in games journalism.

But the ethical people in GamerGate who have had 0 to do with the trolling and death threats should probably ditch #GamerGate as a hashtag and move to #GamerEthics or something new so that they can continue that effort without the baggage of the trolls who use it as smokescreen to harass.

I don't want to derail TOOO much (I find myself saying that a lot... maybe that's a bad sign? :-)), but... couldn't one use this logic to say that Christians should abandon the name of "Christianity"? Or Muslims Islam? Or (secular example), feminists feminism? Or, based on North Korea being the only officially atheist country and being terrible, that atheists should look for a new banner, too?

Plenty of movements/ideologies/whatever had completely ridiculous & unsavory origins and STILL have fanatical, extremist groups within them that make up some percentage. I think leveling objections and directing discourse at specific actions and ideas is preferable to urging name change as any sort of catharsis, but that's just me.... we've remained OverClocked ReMix since the beginning; there's something to be said for name recognition. Mobilizing a group to reinvent themselves under a new brand requires the type of leadership I'm not sure exists, in the case of #gamergate?

That being said, I don't really feel comfortable equating #gamergate with any of the above, because I'm still cloudy on what the overall agenda is at this point in time. I'm not sure a cogent enough distillation exists to really grok what's being rallied for and/or raged against. What would #gamergate "success" even look like? Anyone?

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